To improve the bike-sharing service and reduce public inconvenience, the authorities could consider issuing only a maximum of three operating licences for bike-sharing firms, with a fixed cap on the number of bikes available for rental.
A deposit of $20 will have to be paid to the authorities for each bike.
The operators must ensure that all shared bikes are collected from and returned to designated areas, which are marked out by signs and located some distance away from pedestrian pathways.
Separately, the authorities can issue a licence for an independent bike-recovery operator, which will patrol the island and recover abandoned bikes or those that are parked in areas that cause a nuisance to the public.
This operator should be authorised to independently dispose of these bikes and keep the proceeds to cover the recovery and disposal costs.
If proceeds from the bike disposal are insufficient to cover the costs, then the operator can claim from the deposit held by the authorities.
In this way, the bike-sharing and recovery services will be self-regulating, the public will not be inconvenienced and the authorities need not dispense public funds to govern the profit-driven bike-sharing businesses.
Sum Kam Weng